Ethnobotanist to Discuss Plants’ Potential to Improve Health

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Botanicals Symposium Includes Native Plant Exhibits and Free Blood Pressure Screenings
Released: Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Jim Miller

Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- A world-renowned expert on ethnobotany – the study of how people of a particular culture and region make use of native plants – will be the featured speaker at the Botanical Dietary Supplements Research Center’s community symposium set for 5-7:30 p.m. March 12 at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

James S. Miller, PhD, senior vice president for science and conservation, Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, will present “State of the World’s Plants and Their Untapped Potential.”  The event will also include plant exhibits and free blood-pressure screenings.  Although the symposium is free, pre-registration is recommended.  You can register online at

“The Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the premier botanical gardens in the country.  So it’s no small thing that he’s in that position,” said Elizabeth Floyd, PhD, co-director of Pennington Biomedical’s Botanical Dietary Supplements Research Center.  “Jim is extremely accomplished.  He’s traveled the globe, studying plants, and cataloging them and their medicinal purposes.  He knows a lot about how plant species are threatened, what needs to be done to preserve different plant species, and the possibilities these plants represent.”

Dr. Miller manages a portfolio of international research and conservation projects that all address environmental issues in a world of rapid global change.  Prior to joining the Missouri Botanical Garden, Miller served as Dean and Vice President for Science at The New York Botanical Garden.

His research includes efforts to explore and catalog plants of poorly known tropical regions, and his work has focused on Latin America and tropical parts of Africa and Madagascar. He is using his research to help design conservation initiatives, including identifying the species most in need of attention to ensure their survival and how they can adapt to a changing climate.

Dr. Miller also has extensive experience working in collaborative partnerships to discover new pharmaceutical, agricultural, and nutritional products from plants.


The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 63 faculty and more than 18 postdoctoral fellows who comprise a network of 40 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 450 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.